Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues and new Acquaintances,
I’d like to ask you to indulge me with just a minute of your time.
As you may have heard, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As a bereaved mother this campaign of course matters to me, and I am a little biased about it’s importance. But let me tell you why I sincerely believe this campaign also relates to you, to any and all of you, those who are a step removed and those who are miles and miles away from the issue.
You may think that this issue pertains only to the 1 in 4 couples who are not getting to raise their children side by side with yours, but I believe there are two key ways in which this campaign also benefits you.
At some point one of your closest friends is going to need you, or more likely, one of them already needs you right now. So it is powerful and amazing that you are taking this moment to allow yourself to be desensitized to words like “baby loss” and “miscarriage” so that you will be able to handle the sting of talking with her while others will feel compelled to walk away.
Understandably, no one wants to talk about grief, loss and death. It’s uncomfortable mostly because it is frightening. Even I don’t want to sit in a room full of women talking about horrific things like emergency medical procedures and tiny little coffins. But I do. I do in effort to help counter a cultural silence where “I don’t know what to say” becomes the only thing said as an entire culture takes a collective step back from the horror, from the pain, from the grieving. From the acute reminder of our own mortality.
But we are all missing an incredible opportunity here. As Candy Chang points out “thinking about death clarifies our life.” While loss itself is excruciating, thinking about death is actually a very powerful and potent act. Doing so nudges us to act more consciously in our own lives.
It encourages us to ask ourselves some important questions.
What are you here for? What do you want to experience with your time? What conversations have you been delaying? What have you been denying yourself and pushing off ? How would you spend today if you knew it would be your last?
We often live as though we will receive an unlimited allotment of days. But here’s the thing: there is nothing particularly unique about loss when you step back and really think about it. We all experience heartbreak, sorrow and despair in our lives in some form. This is the shadow side of life. We all hurt. We all experience the loss of someone we love deeply. And most certainly, we will all experience death. Even the bravest, wisest, strongest among us will eventually move on into the great unknown. And avoiding these uncomfortable conversations don’t make them less real or necessary.
So when you feel the urge to pull or click away from the topic of infant and pregnancy loss, instead see if you can pause, even just for a second. Allow yourself to just notice that universal instinct to jump away and disconnect. But then notice your breath, the vitality of life itself pumping through your veins. There is so much power and potential in that tiny pause when we allow the presence of loss and life to co-exist.
I am asking you to stay in that moment because by not jumping back not only do you help to reduce the large, unintentional, but very real divide between those of us who have lost little loved ones and the rest of the world that keeps spinning past us, but you also allow yourself to connect with your own life in a more wholehearted, brave & intentional way. And that benefits absolutely everyone else around you too.
Thank you for your time and for staying with me in this moment.